2019-2020 Chicago Early Learning Preschool Applications Now Open

Families with 3 or 4 year olds by Sept. 1 can apply for sliding scale tuition full or half day 2019-2020 preschool programs in Chicago. Choose up to 2 program sites and find out by June if you were placed in one or on a waitlist.

Three steps to apply: 1. Create on online account; 2. Fill in family info including address, household size, employment & income; 3. Fill out info on your child and choose your top 2 program sites.


Some sites are based in CPS schools but unless it is your assigned neighborhood school, there is no guarantee that you can continue at that school for kindergarten. It is a great way to get to know a school, however, to see if you would like to put it on your application or attend it if it is your neighborhood school.

27 thoughts on “2019-2020 Chicago Early Learning Preschool Applications Now Open”

  1. Is there a way to find out sooner than later if my child was accepted into the school I requested? I chose the option to have the information mailed but now wish I had put down to be notified via email instead. My child is also coming into CPS via Early Intervention.

  2. Is the application process the same for foster children? should we put that they have 0 income?

    1. This should be the same one but to confirm, we recommend you call the Chicago Early Learning Hotline at (312) 229-1690. From the website:

      Preschool applications are prioritized based on the child’s age and family need. Need indicators include: family income, students with disabilities, students in temporary living situations, foster children, children in need of language support, and additional demographic factors.

      Some seats may be reserved at specific sites for families who can verify that they meet the criteria for “high need”. Open seats may be flagged for families with certain eligibility factors, meaning some families may be admitted to a school while others are asked to remain on a waitlist. Waitlists and policies for placement into open seats will be continuously reviewed throughout the summer and families who are admitted in that review will be immediately notified via email.

  3. When is the next round of applications for magnet preschools for the 20-21 school year? Is that window the same for regular pre-k?

    1. The only magnet preschools that start at 3 or 4 years old and go through 8th grade are Suder, Drummond and Inter-American. Those schools tend not to go to a second round so the next time applications open for those it will be for the 2021-2022 school year and the applications would open this October 2020.

  4. My daughter is birth date is October 5th, 2016 and I am looking for full day pre-schools in Chicago. What is the procedure, when does the application procedure starts and how to proceed? Can you please provide me insights?

    1. In these uncertain times, it’s hard to say when this website will be updated, but most information can be found on https://www.chicagoearlylearning.org/. Typically you can apply up to 2 program sites, and you are either offered or waitlisted after your application is reviewed and capacity and needs are taken in to consideration. Typically 4 year olds are prioritized over 3 year olds. There is more detailed info on the website.

      1. Hello. I just have finished the first 2 steps of my daughter’s application but o was able to finish the last step because I got this message
        “You can only apply for the children whose age are between 3 & 5 on 09-01-2019”. What does that message mean ?? Thanks

          1. Thanks for replying back.
            So, should I register my daughter over the phone or should I wait?
            I just do not want to miss the registration due date.
            Thanks again

  5. Does anyone know when open enrollment for 2020-2021 pre-k would be for cps? I’ve tried calling but the hotline number but it’s closed due to covid-19.

      1. Did the dates change for the application? I am trying to find the link to start the process but don’t see anything on this page

  6. Where can we find the information about community-based programs and CPS programs? I understand the 20-21 application is not ready but all of the specific information explaining the programs has been removed and only a “coming soon” is on it now.

  7. I received an email that the 2020-2021 application will open today, but I still see the coming soon page when I click on the link in the email. Another link in the email takes me to a site that is not operational. What time does the application open today?

    1. It is a bit frustrating they sent the email but haven’t updated their site. This is what they have on that email: “Ensure that you’re one of the first to apply during the early bird application window by following @ChicagoEarlyLearning on Facebook or Instagram. We’ll send out a post once the application is live. To receive an alert as soon as the enrollment period goes live, and enable push notifications for our account.”

      Check back later today and I will make a new post as well for 2020-2021. Good luck!

      1. @Chicagoschooloptions – I have a 4 yr old and do you know how they decide on which 2 school your child will get a spot? How does this process work? My first time doing this. Thanks

  8. Cps does not update their websites so my question is when is tuiton based preK application starting for 2021/2022?

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